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The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The First Complete, Unexpurgated Text Hardcover – February, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0060168100 ISBN-10: 0060168102 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 394 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins; 1st edition (February 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060168102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060168100
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #808,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Those who have read the debates between Lincoln and Douglas that took place during the 1858 Senate race in Illinois may not have read what was actually said. The authenticity of the texts has always been in dispute, with the political presses of the day polishing the prose of their candidate and Lincoln himself publishing a sanitized version two years later. The editor of this volume (coeditor, with Mario Cuomo, of Lincoln on Democracy , LJ 10/15/90), claims to present the first authentic texts of the seven confrontations. Interspersed are shouted comments from the crowds, background on the sites, and renditions of how the debates may have appeared. What emerges is a vivid, boisterous picture of politics during our most divisive period: the dull ineloquence of Lincoln and his interplay with hecklers, the blatant bigotry and slashing humor of Douglas, and the small degree to which campaigning has changed in 135 years. This fresh, fascinating examination of a significant step in our march toward the Civil War deserves a place in all American history collections. For public, school, and academic libraries.
- James Moffet, Baldwin P.L., Birmingham, Mich.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“A vivid, boisterous picture of politics during our most divisive period. . . . This fresh, fascinating examination . . . deserves a place in all American history collections.”

- Library Journal

--This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
The series of debates in Illinois between Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln during the 1858 campaign for the U.S. Senate are one of those legendary political encounters of which everyone has heard but few have gone back and actually read. However, since Lincoln never kept any of his papers prior to winning the Presidency, we do not have autograph copies of his Cooper Union or House Divided speeches, let alone his handwritten notes of the great debates. The claim made by Harold Holzer for his edition is that this is the first complete, unexpurgated text of the debates to be published. Holzer notes that what we have relied upon previously for debate transcripts were copies taken down by stenographers for intensely partisan newspapers. Holzer's hypothesis is that the editors and transcribers for these newspapers would improve the remarks by their own candidates while leaving those of his opponent alone. Supporting his idea are the unedited texts of the debate he uncovered. Of course, Holzer provides his own useful additions to the texts of the seven debates in the form of extensive notes (often covering the audience reactions as detailed by various papers). As a two-time winner of the Lincoln/Barondess Award of the Lincoln Round Table and the first Award of Achievement given by the Abraham Lincoln Association for his hundreds of articles and books on Lincoln, Holzer is certainly in a position to make such judgments.
You should be warned that reading these debates will both exhilarate and depress you. These debates lasted three hours and forced the candidates to develop comprehensive proposals and to respond in detail to the attacks of their opponent.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 1997
Format: Paperback
The Lincoln-Douglas Debates have justly been celebrated in American history as one of the milestones in Abraham Lincoln's rise to the presidency. However, Lincoln's own well-meaning assembling of the received text of these debates used only transcripts from papers friendly to either candidate--transcripts which, Harold Holzer argues, were smoothed over and revised by reporters eager to make "their" candidate look good. Holzer insists that we must go to the transcripts of Lincoln's speeches by the pro-Douglas paper, and vice-versa, to get a true sense of what was said off the cuff by the debaters. His edition portrays vividly not only the high-sounding rhetoric of Douglas and the noble ideals of Lincoln, but also the hesitations and mis-speakings of both men. In this way, the reader gets a better sense of what it was like to be in the crowd listening as history was being made
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James Schneider on January 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Purchased this book as I was preparing to portray Senator Douglas in a debate re-enactment. I found it fascinating and very useful. Using the versions of each debate that were likely the least 'doctored' greatly increased the historical accuracy. I also found the background information that was presented with each debate to be well written and entertaining as well as informative. I have other versions of the Lincoln - Douglas debates but this is by far the best. I highly recommend this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Manchester on June 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a great historical resource. I found it to be a great source for insight into the man and the beliefs of Abraham Lincoln. I highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark A. Ryniker on October 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book very much. We get the lead-up to each debate with current events how each candidate arrived. The mood of the crowd as was reported at the time. And the complete texts of the debates as reported by both "partisan" newspapers of the times. Decide for yourself. The differences are minor.
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